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Change How You See and See How You Change

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Marvil, Gean Venus L.

BSAT-III; Philo102-A

May 26, 2018

“Change how you see and see how you change”
(Zen Proverb)

The way individuals respond to change is largely determined by their perspective, of how they see and understand things as well as their underlining social constructions.  Our points of view in life are commonly fixed based on what we look at, what we believe in, and what we ordinarily know. If the way I view things around me is the only thing I believe it to be, without trying to look at another angle of the view, then my perspective will never change no matter what other people might talk me into. I generally imagined that change happened when you moved to somewhere else or when you lost somebody genuine near you. Those are a test to change, indeed, yet change doesn't need to happen over a climactic occurrence. It can simply be by being in the place of the other person’s shoes. Experiencing their point of view and day to day struggles like what I had during the exchange. The quote “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around it” a line said by Atticus Finch from the famous book To Kill A Mockingbird written by Harper Lee, corroborates how narrow minded I can be if I am so fixated with my point of view only, without even trying to understand others. I for one, have had judgements, criticisms, and opinions limited to what I look at and what I think. Yet, after experiencing the Exchange Program, I have come to the awareness that change can be the deepest of all things.

As I recall the beginning of exchange program, right from where our teacher finished the class discussion and made us pick a paper at random from his wooden container as to where our exchange assignments will be, down to the last day of an exhausting under-the-sun labor, everything feels surreal. Now that I am composing my phenomenological paper, I felt like time passed by quickly. The memories that still lingers in my mind, the extreme heat that touched my skin, the sweat caused by genuine effort, and the bond among workers created by unexpected friendliness. I cannot take it out of my mind that maybe it was fate that brought me to the exchange place I worked for.  Because after meeting the owner of Sunyland Garden, who is a humble woman, I begun appreciating the origins and fruits of every hard work, the passion that gives fire to our dreams, and the gratefulness for everything in between. I remember my first day of work, it was a sunny Friday morning. I felt giddy and nervous simultaneously because that was my first time to engage in such program. I was the last person to arrive at the workplace but still managed to be on time. Being the usual clueless person that I am, my first thought was to just jump right over the chore that needs to be done. But, before doing any task, I introduced myself to the other workers who happily welcomed me to the place. Beyond my expectations, first day of work took a toll on me. I was battling my job under the heat of the sun. I can totally feel the summer sweat around my face. Everything that I did was not my first time, but somehow felt like it was. I swept at the garden and picked up dry leaves. It sounds easy, but it was not for I was doing these things under the heat of the sun. Lunch time came and we were bombarded with office workers who were on lunch break and decided to eat at Sunyland’s carinderia. My task was to wipe tables, which I volunteered at because I thought that it would be fun. At first I had trouble wiping tables after tables with customers waiting, but as what David Ogilvy said “Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work,” and I am quite sure I had fun doing my chore so I did not mind how tiring it can be. Despite the fact that I enjoyed what I did, I noticed how messy tables are after some customers leave, and how insensitive they could be to the workers. As someone who is always on the other side of the situation, I now realized that I should be a more responsible customer. Just because it is someone else’s work to do the cleaning, does not mean that I cannot do or should not do anything about it. Before I undergo this exchange program, I am guilty for leaving my table a bit messy most of the times. And now that I have experienced being on their shoes, I now made it my life’s mission to make their work and life a little bit better by making simple gestures such as clearing away my food and segregating wastes. The exchange  had cultivated a sense of responsibility for others in my mind. It molded my being, both socially and emotionally. This program is indeed life changing. I learned to be a person for others, in the most wonderful way. Having experienced the workers’ job had served me to fully understand how they feel, what they are going through, and for whom they are doing it. I was able to see things on their point of view.



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